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 Cycles of Depression

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    Very few people are depressed all the time, although some may press the point.  Depression often comes in cycles or seasons.  It may be important that an individual plot the cycles that he may understand the source of depression and overcome it.

    We live in a world of cycles.  We have a cycle of day and night and cycles of weeks, months, and years.  There are also physical cycles of hunger and eating, even exercise and rest. In marriage there is a cycle of sexual desire and satisfaction.  There is a cycle of women called the menstrual cycle.  There are daily cycles of activity.  We get up, get dressed, go to work, spend the day working, come home, eat with the family, watch TV, bathe, and go to bed.  We may also observe a week cycle by working five days, doing home chores one day, and attending church activities one day.  We may also do different types of work during different seasons of the year.  We celebrate seasonal events such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, and Easter.  We also may observe other annual events such as birthdays and anniversaries.

    So what causes cycles of depression?  One major cause is negative thoughts or emotions that we have attached to a portion of a cycle.  For example, a lady may get up depressed each Sunday morning.  Why?  Sunday is the day that the kids want to sleep late, but the day she also wants them to get up and go to Sunday School.  The conflict each Sunday morning with the kids turned into a cycle of depression.

    Here is another situation.  A man gets depressed around Christmas time each year.  Why?  He had a major conflict with his father over his decision to go into the military some twenty years ago.  The conflict occurred at Christmas.  Now each Christmas the young man experiences a depression episode.

    Another illustration is of a thirty-five year old woman who suddenly falls into a state of depression.  She has a son who has just turned eighteen years old.  What is the source of the woman's sudden depression?  When she was in college, an eighteen year old young man whom she was dating forced her into her first sexual experience.  She hated the experience and broke up with the young man.  She experienced episodes of depression for months after that before they faded away.  Now her son's eighteenth birthday has triggered the painful memories.

    A final illustration is of a young woman who gets depressed about a week prior to her menstrual cycle each month.  The problem is that she sees no reason a woman should have a menstrual cycle.  She hates the necessity of having to use feminine products and all the inconveniences involved.  She has established an emotional of dread that has led to depression.

Other factors include improper diet, physical exhaustion or lack of exercise, and poor lighting conditions.  Also, many antidepressants actually may cause depression.  Of course a lack of spiritual care may be a major contributor to depression.


Sometimes we need to look for causes.  David declared, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou disquieted in me?" (Psalm 42:5a).

     Sometimes we just don't know why we are depressed and we need for God to show us. "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my (disquieting) thoughts: And see if there be a wicked way (literally = painful way) in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).  David simply asked God to look inside and show him the source of inner conflicts and the source of emotional hurts that would cause depression.  Then he asks God to show him the way out.

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